Kroeschell Reflects On His 25 Years At Iowa State
AMES, Iowa - Iowa State Associate Athletics Director for Communications Tom Kroeschell has seen a lot in his quarter century at Iowa State. Kroeschell, who is one of the longest-tenured members in the Iowa State Athletics Department, will be given his 25-year service award by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this summer for his contributions and years of service.
Through four athletics directors (Max Urick, Gene Smith, Bruce Van De Velde and Jamie Pollard), Kroeschell has been a stable force within the athletics department. Nobody possesses a better knowledge of the history of Cyclone athletics. His voice can be heard as the emcee of the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame banquet or at numerous Cyclone sporting events.
Kroeschell, a 1982 graduate of Drake University, started his Iowa State career in 1985 after spending a couple of years as a graduate assistant at his alma mater and one season as an assistant sports information director at Northwestern University.
Despite growing up in the Chicago suburbs (Park Ridge, Ill.), Kroeschell always had an affinity for Iowa State. Both his parents were Iowa State graduates and many of his family members were Iowans, spending plenty of summers in the Tall Corn State.
An ardent track and field connoisseur, Kroeschell also jumped at the chance to work for Bill Bergan and his nationally ranked men's track and field program. Dave Starr, Iowa State's former director of sports information, asked Kroeschell to join his staff - and the rest is history.
"I've always loved the state of Iowa and when the job opened for an assistant SID at Iowa State I was excited," Kroeschell said. "I was at Northwestern making very little money and the school was going to drop track and field. I had met Bill (Bergan) and his staff before, so when the job came open I had some connections out here and I went after it. My first salary was $18,000 a year, but after making only $13,000 on the North Shore, I felt like one of the richest people in the world."
Identifying the most special Cyclone moment in Kroeschell's fruitful career is virtually impossible. Being a part of three national championship teams (1987 wrestling, 1989 and 1994 men's cross country) is definitely at the top of his list. Covering legendary athletes who transcended their respective sports, like Troy Davis (football), Cael Sanderson (wrestling) and Lisa Koll (women's track and field) also has been extremely rewarding.
But Kroeschell always will have a soft spot for the 2000 Iowa State football team. Led by head coach Dan McCarney, Iowa State made its first bowl appearance since 1978 that season, winning the Insight.com Bowl, the program's first bowl victory. Iowa State football had only two winning seasons in Kroeschell's first 15 years in Ames and it was a memory he will always treasure.
"I had not been to a bowl game in my first 15 years here and we finally turned the corner in 2000," Kroeschell said. "I will never forget how rewarding it was for Coach Mac, the administration and our fans to finally make it to a bowl game."
The achievements of the Cyclone athletics teams and individuals are just a small part of Kroeschell's tenure at Iowa State. His relationships with the department staff and the mentoring he's provided for his countless student workers is perhaps his most important accomplishment. Kroeschell cherished his time working with mentors and friends J. Elaine Hieber and Pete Taylor.
Kroeschell's former students team up to create a deep roster of loyal Iowa State alumni scattered across the country, flourishing in many professions. Working with Kroeschell in the athletics communications office, students are well versed in the importance of developing solid relationships. Their future professional success is a tribute to Kroeschell's guidance.
"The success of our students finding employment after graduation is very rewarding for me and is probably the thing that I feel the best about," Kroeschell said. "We are here because of the students. We would not have these jobs without the students here on campus. Between the people that we and others in the athletics department have had as interns, there is a very large panorama of students that had their careers jump-started by working in athletics.
"Ultimately, I am just plain lucky," Kroeschell said. "I work for someone (Steve Malchow) who is going to be in the CoSIDA Hall of Fame. My athletics director (Jamie Pollard) is a strong leader with broad field of vision. Our communications staff of Kendra Smith, Mike Green, Matt Shoultz, Meaghan Hayden and Eric Bentzinger isn't ego driven. They aren't self-promoters and work hard behind the scenes and do their job with pride. I celebrated my 25 years at Iowa State with our office manager Smith. She is like a sister to me because of all the ups and downs we have endured together. Finally, the best choice I made at Iowa State was to marry Beth Wessel. She inspires me every day."